G-Poppers … August 24th, 2018

“People are stupid.”

This is a statement that seems to be flying through the air twenty-four hours a day, as our society becomes convinced that gaining supremacy over other people is best achieved by insulting them and striking out at their character and intelligence.

Unfortunately, there is way to stop this onslaught without getting ground up in the gears of the mechanism.

So today I offer my last G-Popper.

It has been a great run.

Sharing the wisdom of cordiality and gentleness through the eyes of a grandfather was something I felt, many months ago when I began this column, to be a kind way of expressing the change that needs to be set forth among us all.

But it is important for all organisms on Earth to evolve with the times.

So starting next week I will have a new column on Friday entitled “Sit Down Comedy.” It will be a combination of observations mingled with a humorous peek into how we turn our everyday journey into a sixteen-lane freeway instead of just honoring a path.

And of course, in the process we will determine the difference between a stupid idea and trying to tie that misstep with the people who often accidentally stumble into believing it.

We will use video. We will use audio. We may use music. And just a little bit of writing to express the ways to escape stupidity without declaring people stupid.

It will be simpler than G-Poppers but no less sincere.

So I look forward to seeing each and every one of you next week for “Sit Down Comedy,” when we can sit down and reason together… and use the comedy to ease some of the pain.

 

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G-Poppers … June 12th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2610)

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The cereal aisle at the local grocery store.

G-Pop found himself perusing at least 100 boxes of the stuff, each one promising delicious diversity. So he decided to glance at a dozen of the packages, reading the labels to see what was so special about each one.

It was an amazing test.

After careful inspection, it became clear that the only difference among the various brands was that some were sweeter and some had more fiber.

That was it.

Even though, with all the colors, designs and advertising, he was led to believe that each one of the treats was birthed in a factory to be its own entity, they were all basically the same, with minor exceptions in flavor and color. How amazing.

Likewise, even though we tout ourselves a tolerant society, G-Pop would assert that we’ve allowed a sophisticated prejudice to enter our thinking by believing that there are actually African-Americans, Asian-Americans, women, men, Hispanics, LGBT and even religious differentiation.

We just keep shrinking groups down smaller and smaller, insisting that the subtle attributes that might make one group unique are actually insurmountable barriers.

It’s insane.

Just as the boxes of cereal are only set apart by their packaging, not by their cereal, we as human beings have much in common.

  • Some of us are a little sweeter.
  • And maybe some of us have a little more fiber in our disposition.

What will it take? How can we get a whole generation of younger folks to stop this insanity of purposeful division, and instead, remove titles and insert appreciation?

After all, even the distinction of “American” causes us to pursue the notion of exceptionalism instead of joining forces with the other souls on this small planet, to create harmony.

Cereal is cereal.

You can box it up differently, but once you open it and pour it out in a bowl, it looks like a dozen more equally delicious options.

The same is true with people.

G-Pop left the grocery store still deep in thought. He realized he needed to talk to his grandson about this.

Even though the boy is very young, it is never too early to set an intelligent young fellow on a mission for unity.

 

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G-Poppers… April 10, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2557)

G-Popper

Little fellow came and asked G-Pop to make up a poem on the spot. G-Pop sat for a moment and then began:

 

You’re too young. You’re too old. You’re too thin. You’re too fat.

 

You’re too strong.

You’re too weak.

You’re too talented.

You’re too talentless.

 

You’re too white. You’re too black. You’re too smart. You’re too dumb.

 

You’re too early.

You’re too late.

You’re too much.

You’re, well, you’re just fine.

 

Unlike Goldilocks, the world never finds a bowl of you that suits them fine.

 

So listen to people

With ideas, little man,

Who give you the power

To do what you can.

 

G-Pop finished and gave a big smile to the little guy.

Little fella said, “That’s not a poem. It doesn’t rhyme.”

G-Pop sighed and replied, “How about the final two lines? They rhyme. Aren’t you supposed to save the best for last?

 

And by the way, my son.

You’re a picky one.”

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G-Poppers … March 27, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2544)

G-Popper

G-Pop was always pretty sure when his granddaughter had something to say or ask, but found that it was lodged in the back of her throat, nearly choking her.

There were tell-tale signs.

For instance, she would come into the room, sit down and fidget for a while, and leave–only to return several times, repeating the process.

So finally, on the fourth such visit, G-Pop decided to address the situation.

G-Pop: Something on your mind?

Granddaughter: No. Why do you ask?

G-Pop: Well, I ask because you’ve been in here four times in the past ten minutes for no particular reason, saying nothing–but kicking your feet against the coffee table.

Granddaughter: Are you mad because I’m kicking the coffee table?

G-Pop: (laughing) No. I just wonder what you have on your mind that you want to share.

Granddaughter: Not share. Ask.

G-Pop: Ask away.

(Granddaughter paused again. Apparently there was a big glob of something that was having a whole lot of trouble getting to the surface. G-Pop sat patiently, waiting for her.)

Granddaughter: (at length) You know I love you, G-Pop.

(G-Pop interrupted with a laugh.)

Granddaughter: What are you laughing at?

G-Pop: You always know you’re in trouble when somebody begins a conversation with “you know I love you…”

Granddaughter: You’re not in trouble. I just love you.

G-Pop: Thank you.

Granddaughter: What I’m trying to say is, I don’t understand why you aren’t rich and famous.

G-Pop: Which would you prefer? Rich or famous?

Granddaughter: Aren’t they the same?

G-Pop: Oh, no. One is fame and one is money. You can get money without being famous, and you certainly can be famous without getting any money.

Granddaughter: Really?

G-Pop: So which one? Do you think I should be rich? Or be famous?

Granddaughter: I want you to be both!

G-Pop: So let’s say I was. How would that help you?

(Granddaughter sat, thinking. So G-Pop offered an idea.)

G-Pop: If I had money, maybe I could buy you more things. And if I was famous, your friends might think you were really cool because your G-Pop was well-known.

Granddaughter: I suppose. Gee, that makes me sound really dumb.

G-Pop: No, it makes you sound human. It’s just that human sometimes sounds dumb.

Granddaughter: Why aren’t you on television? Or in the movies? Or on the news?

G-Pop: You ever go on a long trip?

Granddaughter: Sure.

G-Pop: Well, you’re young enough that you probably don’t understand that to drive the first mile of a long trip means you have to get your car ready, pack your bags, check the fluids on your engine, get some money, plan the trip, pick up some snacks…

Granddaughter: That’s a lot of stuff!

G-Pop: It is. And even though you might be heading for somewhere far away, your destination doesn’t make any difference, because what’s important right now is how well you plan and how much you enjoy it.

Granddaughter: What’s this got to do with being rich and famous?

G-Pop: Rich and famous is a dot on the map–maybe far away. Some people sit around wondering how they could take a rocket ship there, or be dropped in by helicopter. But since those possibilities are very limited, they usually end up going nowhere. But if you take the keys you’ve got and use the vehicle you own, and drive as far as you can, enjoying every mile of the way, you might just someday get to that dot. But if you don’t, you can sure help a lot of people on the highway enjoy a lot of scenery, and find a way to make everywhere you travel resemble that dot.

Granddaughter: I don’t quite understand.

G-Pop: I wouldn’t expect you to. But just remember this–it’s never about the destination. It’s about the journey. And as long as you’re having fun with what you’re doing, helping out folks along the way, and learning the precious value of planning, you will always be happy–which is actually the best impersonation of rich and famous.

 

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Populie: Vox Populi … July 30, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2307)

The Thinker

The term is Latin for “the voice of the people.”

So today we will discuss the populie of vox populi.

I, for one, would find it fascinating to actually hear the voice of the people. Instead I am inundated in a news cycle which has a simple philosophy: “Who’s screaming the loudest? And please put a camera on them.”

Even though I would not call myself an authority on the American public, having traveled across this country for decades, interacting with hundreds of thousands of people, I do feel confident to advance the following:

  • America is not conservative.
  • America is not liberal.
  • America is not Republican.
  • America is not Democrat.
  • America is not religious.
  • America is not secular.
  • America is not intellectual.
  • America is not ignorant.

All the extremes pushed to the forefront in the pursuit of gaining ratings and pleasing advertisers have absolutely nothing to do with the actual vox populi.

The average American of every race and intellect has two desires:

A.  Give me a climate in which I can be financially solvent and pusue my interests and goals.

B.  Let me do this pursuing with as little interferance and as peacably as possible.

If you have a name for that philosophical stance, you can probably capsulize the American spirit.

But religion, politics and entertainment feel the need to generate a national angst which they feel either fills pews, jams the voting box or sells cinema tickets.

Honestly, when you get out there in the middle of humanity, these issues, ideas, conflicts and even preferences don’t register.

Truthfully, we often tune in the news, watch a movie or listen to some pundit rally for his or her cause at our own peril.

If you’re going to run a wise course through this raging gauntlet of screaming extremes, please take a look at three principles which will aid you in negotiating the obstacles of fury:

1. See how something feels in silence.

Never respond immediately to a fiery sermon.. Never read something on the Internet, assume it’s true and pass the gossip along. Find a quiet place, run it over in your mind and realize that if your spirit doubts the validity of the extreme statement, then your spirit is probably right.

Silence is the environment where ideas can be segregated off into those inspirations that benefit us from the clamor that feed on our prejudices.

2. Can this idea being trumpeted be accomplished without hurting people?

We have become too cavalier in our treatment of human life and the feelings of others. I have never believed that the end justifies the means, but I will go so far as to say that the end does not even justify the bad attitudes. If you find yourself angry enough that you lose civility, you have probably swallowed a devilish glob of nonsense.

3. Has this concept worked in the past, is it able to be applied now and does it have a future?

If you cannot find a grandfather to your idea, then fathering it is not terribly intelligent. And if you feel led to father an idea, understand that your grandchildren will be left to pick up the results–and the bill.

There are things in the past that certainly needed to be changed. But there are truths that endure from the past which cannot be thrown aside just so we can call ourselves progressive.

The voice of the people is not determined by the loudest screamer. We will never convince the media to stop pointing the camera at the most outlandish sight.

But we can listen for the voice of the people in the whisper of common sense in our own soul, telling us to pursue excellence … and pass up really obnoxious ideas.

 

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Except What? … September 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2009)

cartoon melting potThere is no such thing as a “pure-blooded American.” America was accumulated, not ordained.

We are a mish-mash mess of a miraculous mixture, a mysterious mutation majestically merging into a magnificent mob.

Our ancestors left monarchy, anarchy, oligarchy, patriarchs and matriarchs to come and experiment with the outlandish assertion that all men–and women, for that matter–are created equal.

So what causes us to jut out our multicultural jaws and claim that “we are exceptional?”

Do we really become more valuable to the human race by expressing superiority? Does God in heaven smile down on us as the new “Chosen People,” having abandoned the Jewish race for the job?

I guess what bothers me is the word “exceptional.” The root of it is “except.” In other words:  to make exempt from consideration.

Even though all of my training, understanding and basic common sense tells me that whoever has much, of that person is required more, we have taken on some sort of “Holy-Roman-Empire-mentality,” believing that since we are born and reared within a three-thousand-mile radius of one another on this continent, then we somehow have a free pass to make mistakes without critique.
When I was a kid I did childish things. Some slack was cut. Thank God.
When I had kids of my own, the slack was removed and was replaced with the “r word”–responsibility.
When those kids grew up and needed me to be a wise sage to them for guidance–and to transform myself into a grandfather–it was my purpose to make that journey without grumping or complaining and certainly minus useless immaturity.

So looking at our country, I see that we went through our toddler phase during the Revolution, through adolescence by continuing slavery in a rebellious way, which led to Civil War. But now, as we father the notion of freedom and become grandfathers to the concept of democracy, we should put away childish things. We should not compare ourselves to other countries when we talk about human rights. Most of THEM never claimed that expression of equality in their forms of government.

We shouldn’t even look at our Olympic athletes and extol them as higher and better when they win medals, for we live in the lap of luxurious training as a lifestyle instead of having to work it in around the planting and harvesting seasons.

The word should not be exceptional, but instead, should be “expect-tional.” Since we’ve been blessed with freedom, ingenuity, prosperity and spirituality, we should expect more from our country than those around us.

When I finally see us use a different measuring stick to our own morality than we do to the world at large, I will understand that we finally have comprehended what it means to be American, settling our souls on the fact that to be exceptional means you must live by the credo: to he who much is given, much is expected.

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